Lana Vaughan

The Queen of Questions

Can You Hear Me Now?

There is an illusion that communication is easier now than ever. I don’t buy it. Sure we have more ways and faster ways of communicating but as any blogger or marketer will tell you “Content is king!” And I think the king is dead.

A hundred years ago if I wanted to tell you something I would track you down and tell you to your face. The faster version was to tell the neighborhood gossip who would do that for me but for the most part communication was personal. Then the ease and speed of the telegraph made it possible for messages to be delivered long distances. The original twitter, most were kept short and the details left out allowed for vast amounts of imagination and fear to fill in those missing points.

The telephone simplified things, didn’t it? Instead of tracking you down I could just ring you up and without having to look in your eyes I could let you know what I was thinking or tell you what I thought you wanted to hear. It was so much easier not to have to look at you when I told you I was “too sick” to come to work or that I’d love to be there but just couldn’t make it.

The answering machine made communication even more remote. “I’m too busy to talk to you so leave a message and I’ll get back to you when I’m good and ready if at all…BEEP!” We didn’t have to talk anymore. Phone tag became acceptable.

Even the art of putting pen to paper has been over run and impersonalized. One look at my penmanship addressing Christmas cards made me realize just how lazy I’ve become. Words I write often flowed smoothly but the names and addresses I write once a year were halting and in one case so illegible the post office returned it undeliverable.

Now email and voice mail have been reduced to texting, mostly done on “smart phones”. How smart are they really? Built in auto spell has been responsible for many humorous messages sent when the sender was in too much of a hurry to actually read what the phone predicted the message was going to be.

Skype and Facebook and all the lesser social connections don’t come close to replacing the personal interaction of face to face over coffee or lunch or a clothes line. Anybody remember the look of the backyards on a summer day when not only your towels but your underwear was  dancing in the warm breeze along with the rest of the neighbors?

“Status” is so easy to hide behind. In some ways I think it’s the ultimate poser shield. It may say “Available” or “On line” but the truth is so often “Multi-tasking” or “Distracted”.

As the pressure and emotion packed into this week every year begins to build I wonder if above all the noise, among all the ways to communicate, with all the possibilities if we haven’t lost something. I know I have. There is a song (isn’t there always?) that has been on my playlist a lot lately.

If you are reading this, I would love to hear from you. I would love to have coffee and hear your story. I would love to hear your voice on the phone at the very least. And if you honor me with a real letter I will answer with my own pen to paper.

Tell me ’bout the good old days.


About Lana


3 Replies

  1. Candy

    You are so right about all the anonymity behind our modern day techno-communication, Vana! And I do miss the old days of letter writing because it was a very personal sharing of yourself where time was a commodity deemed worth sacrificing. I loved finding pretty stationery to write those letters on too! Loved this, Lana! Thanks for sharing it!

  2. Wow. Convicted. I honor relationships aove all else. This past two months of moving, game shipping….(can you tell I have plenty of excuses?) have just about taken me out. I miss my tribe and the deep connection I have with many every morning over blogs, coffee, dinners, travelling and yes even twitter. I Can’t wait to slow back down.
    Great post friend. I can’t wait to share a meal again soon with you.

    1. Dinner anytime. Matt and I have enjoyed our time with you and Chris and the guys very much. He’s going to CES and hoping to have time with you there.

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